Los Angeles is a messy city. There are many traffic lights, many cars, and many other problems.
It just takes one person driving through a red light to kill someone, as Sandra Duran was killed on Sunday. She was 42 and the mother of two sons, engaged to be married. She had attended church with her sister an hour earlier.
The 45-year-old driver was drunk and had been deported from the US five times, once for a DUI charge. He had been charged with marijuana possession twice.
It just takes one person with a gun to kill someone, as Police Officer Keith Boyer was killed on February 20 while investigating a three-car crash in an intersection in the early hours of a Monday morning. Boyer was 53 years old, the father of three, and also a grandfather.
The 26-year-old man who shot him had killed his cousin, Roy Torres, shortly before and was a gang member who had served prison sentences for grand theft auto, robbery, and gang membership. He'd been out on parole for a week at the time of the killings after being jailed for violating probation five times since summer 2016. One violation was for possessing narcotics.
Essentially he was a walking and driving time bomb.
- LA has plenty of weapons, both cars and guns.
- LA has many people who are addicted to alcohol and/or drugs.
- LA has income inequality and young people drawn into gangs.
- LA has many immigrants who live on the margin but have a better chance of finding work, food, and housing here than in the countries they came from.
- LA has many parolees who live on the margin, often unable to get a job.
Those Angelenos who are none of the above, just trying to keep jobs and raise their families, are driving the streets of LA with all these others.
Some of us who are doing relatively well inevitably will be impacted by those with weapons, addictions, gang affiliations, prison records, or immigration problems, struggling to find a meal or a place to spend the night.